Liveaboard Diving in Portugal
Portugal provides much more than a beach holiday destination. With its prime location bordering the Atlantic, the Azores Archipelago offers great liveaboard diving options.
Whilst not home to the most diving liveaboard vessels, Portugal does still have a few special locations that will appeal to divers wishing to explore this country on a liveaboard cruise.
Mainland Portugal has a Mediterranean climate whilst the islands of the Azores is more sub-tropical, but in general, diving is possible throughout most of the year.
Dive Sites and Areas of Portugal
Whilst not home to the most diving liveaboard vessels, Portugal does still have a few special locations that will appeal to divers wishing to explore this country on a liveaboard cruise. The main focus for divers looking for a liveaboard is around the Azores Archipelago out in the Atlantic where marine life encounters can be very special. It’s possible to see and dive with Mobula Rays, Whale sharks, Blue sharks and if you’re lucky even Blue Marlin have been spotted on dives.
The Azores is an archipelago located in the Atlantic ocean consisting of nine islands and well known for its amazing marine diversity and underwater landscapes. São Miguel Island is the main island of this area and hosts the main city Ponta Delgada.
Santa Maria Island is the southernmost island of the Azores and has become known as a good place in summer to see Whale sharks at Baixa do Ambrósio (Ambrosio Reef).
Princess Alice Bank is located southwest of Pico Island and is a seamount, approximately 32 meters from the surface, which is well known for it’s sightings of schooling Mobula rays as well as larger pelagics. Due to its remote location, strong currents can be found here, but this is also what draws in the marine life such as Tuna, Wahoo & even Blue Marlin
Formigas Islets is a group of uninhabited rocky islands to the southeast of São Miguel Island which is also a marine reserve. Apart from having great visibility, it’s a great place to spot Mobula rays, Galapagos sharks, Oceanic manta rays & possibly even Hammerhead sharks. It also allows divers to access the popular seamount Dollabarat Bank which hosts numerous plateaus between 5-40 metres, recommended only for experienced divers. Wreck diving is also possible on the nearby Olympia Wreck.
How to Get There and Port of Departure
Flights to Portugal are available from most international destinations and will usually arrive in Lisbon or Faro. European airlines such as Lufthansa, Ryanair & Swissair offer flights directly to the Azores, but domestic flights from mainland Portugal are also available to the different islands. Liveaboards usually depart from either Santa Maria Island or São Miguel Island, please check your chosen itinerary for full details.